Depression affects your life, and the lives of those around you. It can severely disrupt how you function, eat, sleep, and get along with others. Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 percent to 50 percent of the time. Approximately 70 percent of the prescriptions for antidepressants are given to women, often with improper diagnosis and monitoring.
Depression could become a security issue if the individual fails to take prescribed medication, or if the depression affects judgment or is accompanied by other problems that cause insecure, unsafe, irresponsible or unreliable behavior. For example, depression is sometimes accompanied by periods of mania, in which case it is a different illness called bipolar disorder.
Depression can interfere with your work, your social life, and your family life. In addition, there are many other symptoms, which can be physical, psychological, and social. Depression may occur only during specific seasons of the year – a condition know as seasonal affective disorder.
Feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, fears of not being able to cope, after childbirth – a condition known as post-partum depression. Depression is a common mental health problem and is significantly different from mere unhappiness or sadness. It is a long lasting, often recurring illness as real and debilitating as heart disease.
Depression is also linked to changes in how your brain works. The brain sends signals from nerve to nerve using chemicals called neurotransmitters. Depression can be quite pervasive; affecting many or all aspects of your life. In some cases, feelings can become so overwhelming that thoughts of hurting yourself or ending your life may appear to be the only option.
Depression can be difficult to diagnose, and a clinician may need to see a child over time to determine the appropriate diagnosis. A trained clinician (such as a child psychiatrist, child psychologist, or pediatric neurologist) should integrate information from home, school, and the clinical visit to make a diagnosis of depression.
Depression also tends to run in families. Depression is a self-destructive effort to avoid feeling. Accept that emotions are natural and helpful. Depression can last for years and without treatment can cause permanent disability. It is a profoundly painful, distressing disorder that rarely can be overcome without external help.
Depression can also be confused with sadness. But compared to sadness, depression is more intense, lasts longer, and interferes more with your day-to-day functioning. Depression presents itself in many different ways: anxiety, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, and difficulty concentrating are very common. Often depression is the last thing on someone’s mind when they are feeling out of sorts. Depression can be devastating effecting your life, your job and the lives of others around you.
Depression is also treatable. You may need to see a doctor, but there are things you can do yourself or things you can do to help somebody suffering from the illness. Depression can appear at any age and occurs in every Western country. There is some debate about whether it is seen in every culture across the world, although it now seems likely that depression is a universal human condition. Depressions tend to recur so it is very important to stay on treatments for long enough to help prevent the depression from coming back.
Depression without an apparent precipitating event is called melancholia (formerly known as endogenous depression). These distinctions, however, are not very important, since the effects and treatment of the depression are similar.
Depression isn’t all about celebrities spending a week at a luxurious “spa” whining about their lives; it affects real people in very real ways. Depression can be beaten and you can do it.